Tristán Bauer doesn’t offer background on the war that is at the center of Blessed By Fire, not that one is exactly necessary because the story wishes to speak to the emotional toll suffered by soldiers in all wars. But the film beings with footage of a war protest that trumpets the Argentinean’s right to self-determination, a remonstration that feels unrelated to the story proper, which relates the visit a journalist, Estebán (Gastón Pauls), pays to a comatose friend, Vargas (Pablo Riva), with whom he fought in the 1982 war between Argentina and Britain on the Falkland Islands, also known as the Midlands. In flashbacks, Estebán, Vargas, and Juan (César Albarracín) struggle with loneliness and the belligerence of their superiors, but Vargas’s crisis is the only one that resonates. The lives of these characters are all insufficiently dramatized, but Vargas’s overwhelming fear and sadness over the distance from his family is a touching rebuke to the cliché notion that all men grapple with the horrors of war with great valiance. Alas, the film’s present-day scenes are a wash, with Estebán chatting with Vargas’s wife about her husband’s desire to return to the island that left many Argentinean men scarred for life (and prone to suicide). Throughout these scenes, Bauer too readily reveals his compassionate but syrupy agenda in favor of these men’s post-traumatic stress, but worse are the songs that underscore Estebán’s flashbacks to his time on the battlefield, which position Blessed by Fire as the film equivalent of an adult contemporary song.
- 94 min
- Tristán Bauer
- Tristán Bauer, Miguel Bonasso, Edgardo Esteban, Gustavo Romero Borri
- Gastón Pauls, Pablo Riva, César Albarracín, Hugo Carrizo, Virginia Innocenti, Juan Leyrado, Arturo Bonín, Jon Lucas, Mario Chaparro, Tony Lestingi, Carlos Garmendia, Lautaro Delgado
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